In this new regular column, London Exile front row players give their unique perspective on the game. As all good front row will know, their view can often be obscured by scrummaging, occasional grunt work and the smell of the fresh match tea being prepared hence why this column will focus on more of the finer things in rugby. This week, the Exiles front row were facing league leaders Camberley…probably not the best weekend for this column to start!

Ground – Medium to soft

Weather – drizzly, similar to the post game showers

Front row score – comfortable win for Camberley

Lining up against the sizeable Camberley pack, we could see we had our work cut out. The Camberley lads clearly had a few extra pies in the bag on us and this wasn’t a day for running rugby…not that it ever is. The opposition really put the screw on and gave us a tough time all day in the scrum, fair play in front row code. The only saving grace was our ears didn’t resemble a vegetable of the Brassica Oleracea family (for the less educated of you – The highlight of the match had to be the gentleman on the side line who had taken it upon himself, as I suspect he did every week, to voice his every concern to the young referee. Usually I would take less notice of this however having heard some of the ‘advice’ he was passing around I was happy to put my head back in the scrum for another bout of Torticollis. Needless to say the game ended with Camberley comfortable winners on the scoreboard and in front row scoreboard.

I will admit that Barnes don’t hold the most alluring of showering opportunities however they are dependable (minus the winter of 2015 but the less said about that the better) but upon visiting the showers Watchetts Recreation Ground I was starting to miss them! You comfortably need a minimum of 8 GCSEs at a grade B or higher to operate the system, hence why half the team showered in the basin. Fortunately front rowers are smarter than they seem…but’s that’s because generally we’re working from a lower base.

In the clubhouse there was a good array of ales and lagers, a good site to behold on a fairly damp and dark afternoon. At the time I was fairly confident that most of the barrels had been dry, not for the lack of service but the buoyancy of the Alumni who had clearly enjoyed their pregame lunch. Very enjoyable having the same conversation four times with a chap in an impressive blazer.

I would give the post-match tea a 7/10 in quality, a well heated Green Thai curry which I could have sworn was a korma before the first mouthful. Missing a supporting carb but I’ll let that slide. What was missed in quality was certainly made up in quantity with the host ensuring the larger gentlemen ended up with the relative portion to their size. Shame the boys who lunched had consumed all of the cheeseboard prior to the players arrival, all the boys wanted was a slice of Stinking Bishop.

I am informed that the bus back was raucous and the Alma greeted them with open arms. I believe everyone is looking forward to the week off and what should be a spectacular display of scrummaging in the England vs Wales game.

On a side note, a quick shout out to the Red Lion in Barnes who have dipped their toe into the waters of Food Challenges. If you are poorly informed or just haven’t paid attention to any news in the last few weeks there has be a rather large development – the Red Lion have created a 3ft sausage roll challenge. The Front Row Union have already aligned their diaries and will be popping down for a light dinner in the near future. More to come…

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